WASHINGTON, March 28 (UPI) -- Similar to a series of ads last year, a new series of stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases urge smokers to quit, an official says.
Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, said beginning Monday, ads will run for at least 12 weeks on television, radio, billboards, online, and in theaters, magazines and newspapers nationwide.
The ads, funded by the Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health Fund, tell the story of how people's lives were changed forever due to their smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.
The ads feature smoking-related health conditions -- including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, severe adult asthma and complications from diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and amputation -- and candidly describe the losses from smoking and the gains from quitting.
"This campaign is saving lives and saving dollars by giving people the facts about smoking in an easy-to-understand way that encourages quitting," Sebelius said in a statement. "The increase in calls to quit lines after last year's campaign shows that more people are trying to quit smoking as a result of these ads."
Despite the known dangers of tobacco use, nearly 1-in-5 U.S. adults still smoke. Almost 90 percent of smokers started before they were 18, and many of them experience life-changing health effects at a relatively early age, Sebelius said.
The ads encourage smokers to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free number to access quit support across the country, or visit www.cdc.gov/tips to view the personal stories from the campaign and for free help quitting.